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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Thanks to Gen X, these 5 German cars posted the biggest gains of the last decade

We like to talk about changes large and small here at Insider. Wondering questions aloud and then asking our valuation team what the data show is a regular part of our weekly conversations. Everyone knows about the industry-wide gains over the last two years, but that got us asking: What about the biggest gains from the last 10?
https://www.hagerty.com/media/valuation/thanks-to-gen-x-these-5-german-cars-posted-the-biggest-gains...
41 REPLIES 41
MeJ
Advanced Driver

A couple of thoughts.
First, wow those M3 prices are through the roof! Just ridiculous.
The E28 is such a beautiful sedan (not E39 beautiful) but nice.
And I think the 560 SEC is gaining popularity because a generation of younger folks are discovering the best bad movie ever made: Road House. They want to get their Dalton on!
CARNUT-208
New Driver

I am keeping a 2016 loaded rag top BMW 228i XDrive with very low miles for the long haul . This one could be a future winner .
Whitetm1
New Driver

Hate to tell you, but it almost definitely won’t. Collectors are generally looking for M cars and your car may be loaded but it has a base model engine in it. 

Rider79
Technician

BUT - it is a convertible, which almost always adds value and collectibility to otherwise somewhat ordinary cars.
Fieroman3
Intermediate Driver

As Tom Cotter and others say, drive what you like. Period. If it gains value, great, but it should'nt be your first criteria. Enjoy it !
MeJ
Advanced Driver

Preach!

PiersR
New Driver

Assuming it’s a manual this is a good bet, will be worth a premium to MSRP already and that will only climb. If it’s an automatic then hit the bid now!
11JA
Intermediate Driver

As always with classic cars when it comes to extracting profit it’s when you own them and when you sell. I have owned all of the desirable BMW’s, E9 CSL’s (I still own one I bought in 1974 for £3000 which was lots of money at the time), a Warsteiner liveried E30 M3 used as a display vehicle around the dealerships, an E28 Alpina and just last year I sold a E46 M3 CSL. I can honestly say I’ve never had the best price from any of them but I can also say I really enjoyed owning them.
Haflinger
New Driver

I think there’s another bmw out there that has become collectible but difficult to find in nice condition. The 2001 and slightly earlier e38 740il has somewhat of a cult following. And, why not? Responsive, gorgeous, and relatively cheap. BMWs original flagship deserved mention
Mcompact
Pit Crew

I had a chance to buy an E32 735i with a manual transmission. I should have jumped on it with both feet.
Rider79
Technician

Or three feet! ;<)
RobertCross
New Driver

When will early R129's (1990 - 1992) Mercedes 500SL be on this list?
Mcompact
Pit Crew

I ran an E24 M6 from 1992 to 1995; I still kick myself for selling it. The only borderline collectable BMW I currently own is a 318ti Club Sport that I ordered back in August 1995; it's one of @10 built without a sunroof. Its value is gradually increasing, but I buy cars to drive and track- not as investments

Jbwcfp
New Driver

I have 2 BMW’s that are a bit unique, not sure how collectible they will be, but I enjoy driving them both. A 2008 all black 135i manual convertible and a 2012 328 (now 330) E91 manual.
coop
Detailer

Going back to 2012 or even 2010, there's an easy half dozen cars that for me, of modest means (and mechanical talent), come under
"we hope you didn’t wait to make your move." (912, TR250, P1800ES, etc. - boomer that I am).
Peter_Veneziano
New Driver

The only car I truly regret selling was my 1988 Silver over Grey BMW M3. Amazing ride. Owned it only about 2 years driving her as a daily in NE Ohio including Winters. I'm sure she has turned to red dust by now. I remember pulling into the garage with the driveway iced over. Inching forward in 1st gear until the rear wheels caught ice free concrete and chirp then I'd pop the clutch. The family room was next to the garage and my Wife told me the kids would hear that and jump up yelling Daddy's home.
MAVas
New Driver

Many aspiring Gen X owners of collectible cars will be in for a rude awakening when they discover that maintaining an aging car that is loaded with an array of computers, sensors and other assorted electronic wizardry is more of a pain than a pleasure. Particularly cars that were amongst the earliest to utilise experimental electronics.

Electronics are the new rust.

FloridaMarty
Instructor

I don't understand. MB and BMW, I've owned both brands (1980's). I keep records on all my cars, cost, repairs, upkeep, etc. These 2 brands were the most expensive cost of ownership and the most troublesome of anything I've owned. I would never own either brand ever again. I guess if money is no object, and you don't need the reliability, then OK, they are good looking and comfortable, but lets be honest, they aren't the best, not even close.
VLStu
Pit Crew

I was a hard core "USA" branded owner and driver until one day a friend gave me a ride in his M-Roadster. It was about a year later that I bought my own (it was an off-lease Imola Red low mileage pocket rocket). I enjoy working on my own cars, and this was just another add to the fleet. It has been as reliable as my Monte Carlo SS, and a hell of a lot more fun to drive than my V6 Altima (bad weather car). A few years back, I took the plunge and bought an E60 V10 M5 at a Mecum Auction, and yes - it is more of a money pit, but just as enjoyable to work on and surprise the crap out of other cars when this mafia staff car size vehicle unleashes 500 hp. I get your point - BMWs cost more - but that doesn't make them any less fun to drive and wrench on.
Mcompact
Pit Crew

I've owned BMWs since 1983- when my girlfriend(now wife of 36 years)  found a 1973 Bavaria for me. Since then we've owned 12 BMW and one Mini between us. Currently we have 3 BMWs and one Mini in the garage- none are covered by a warranty. I know that based on our ownership history we should be filing our 3rd Chapter 7, have 10 credit cards bouncing off their credit limits, and living in a cardboard box under a viaduct.

Somehow, we have survived...

Padgett
Instructor

Dots nize.
Snailish
Engineer

I sort-of despise the generation X label. I don't think the "group" as near as cohesive and predictable as that premise suggests and think it only gets worse with the younger "generations".

I this this list boils down to "what was cool when you were in high school" and "you are at peak income age and get to buy your show-off toy".

Yes, generation X mostly falls into what I said in the second paragraph but there will be huge regional differences (i.e., where I lived almost no one had, saw or wanted these brands at the time whereas more urban or wealthy areas I think there is more demand).

I'd be curious if breaking the generation X data down into 4 year cohorts presents the same story?
Rider79
Technician

For me, SEC first (class, good looks, and only two-doors), with the 2800CS second (same factors).
mstricklett
New Driver

Purchased a 90 Model SEC in 1995. Drove it as my main vehicle for several years, then as a backup for weekends. Love the handling, style and overall styling of the car. Just wished at times it was a diesel for the long haul. Sold it in 2005 with over 125,000 miles in number 2 condition for more than I paid for it! Great investment. I've looked for another the past few years - but most are ragged out.
ronald9786
New Driver

Hello:

 

My name is Ron Smith and I own a 1990 560SEC with 70800 miles! It has been garaged for 32years with three exceptions totaling about 3 weeks outside at night...no body damage  - interior is immaculate - new A/C - rear shocks- clean car fax - major mechanical restoration 15 years ago when I inherited it from my late aunt. If you might be interested in purchasing it, contact me at ronald9786@gmail.com or call me @ 858/673-1420 for further information

Inline8OD
Technician

Big leagues. What does "big leagues" mean? Oh, keep forgetting, this is a site about money more than cars.
Would've sworn this was a hobby. Leave the incessant money talk to Kiplinger's, the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition, or check a recent issue of Hemmings Motor News, Auto Trader, or considering the above, Kelley Blue Book, which goes back 20 years.

 

    You might join the Used Car Club of America.  They have daily meets at a Safeway or Trader Joe's near you.

 

     And  p l e a s e   don't tell us you "can't afford"  something unusual, interesting, historic, older than you, your father, or grandfather given the above "values."

Enough already with the money. Cars are not an investment or road to riches.
They are a h o b b y, even a passion.

Snailish
Engineer

The valuation stuff would be more interesting to me if it was discussed differently.

 

Let's use the 69 Mustang Fastback as the example:

 

If I dream of that car and only that car then an article telling me the current values of various specs and conditions would be interesting. These "top 5" articles sort of do that but usually with little granularity in detail.

 

But Hagerty could do more if some other approaches were taken:

 

-You want a 69 Mustang fastback but can't afford the market? Here are some alternatives and why we suggest them... this probably does well for forum feedback too. 

 

-"best buys in cruise night pony cars under $15 000"  or whatever context of use you want to give the list. This breaks away from the "investment value change" focus.

 

-what age groups have policies on 69 Mustang Fastbacks vs. ten years ago?

 

^that's just a few quick ideas. I think there are lots of ways to talk about vehicles that can be fun and interesting.

 

 

 

 

Truthworldwide
Advanced Driver

I think the valuation is interesting *because* it is tied to desirability. If nobody wants them, their prices stay stagnant or fall.

Like it or not, these are still commodities at the end of the day (and 9.5 times out of 10, a depreciating asset). I still buy and drive whatever I want to enjoy and afford, but I think the value is as intrinsic to the hobby as being fun to drive or "cool."
Snailish
Engineer

Your point is well-taken. A few ways we see it here:

 

-people tend to complain when they do the articles about the valuation changes on "surprising" (usually unpopular and/or not considered "collector") vehicles by many posting here

 

-55-57 2 door chev in various bodies have long been a desirable collectable. They weren't even the top selling car in 1957 but I would suggest they have been kept in much higher % than anything else mass-market made in the 50s. This creates the interesting situation of one of the most common (they were the best seller in 55 & 56 I believe) vehicles being the most desirable and valuable. Which meant early and strong aftermarket support... easier to restore...

 

I think Hagerty could probably even analyze their data to show that the market for 50s cars overall has gone softer in the last 10 years as the people that lived with these cars as children & teens exit the hobby. Prices of Bel Air convertibles may not be "way down" but from the investment perspective I don't think anyone is recommending getting into 55 Dodges or Packards.

 

Meanwhile Hagerty invests in Radwood because they see the desirability pressure going up on 80s & 90s vehicles  --though lots of forum comments here still dismiss most of those vehicles as collectables. Aside from the Fox body Mustangs and related platforms though I am not sure how many things of this era have the great aftermarket support to feed the survival loop?

 

Personally I was the one loving the 50s cars when no one around me thought they were cool (crowd too young for that) and still do. I also like a fair bit of the Radwood stuff too. It's mostly the post-2000 era I find less desirable in general.

SJM1
Intermediate Driver

All this talk about "I should not have sold my.... Saleen Fox, BMW M3, Mercedes 500SEC???, Renault R5turbo (that had not been driven for a few years and didn't run), Rusted BMW coupe... Silly. ALL of these cars were essentially daily drivers. Not ridiculously priced, purchased or leased, driven and handed off in anticipation of receiving the next new model. Very few are getting the prices on that graph, as they are simply "used", and may need expensive work. Has anyone at Haggerty priced out a proper, full strip repaint lately, or an electrical rewiring job, or maybe the replacement of a BMW unit body? Those cars are EXPENSIVE if they are restored, and super valuable if they have not been driven much.

I owned some nice cars. My Saleen is now a $100K car, but I don't own it anymore. I sold it and got 3X more for it than a comparable used Mustang LX 5.0, and was happy, about 15 years ago. I had it for 16 years and it had 120K miles on it. I have sold Mercedes that appear to have appreciated (and yet the 30 year old Mercedes daily driver I have has not appreciated a nickel), but when you figure inflation, they are really depreciating, so there is that. I sold my R5turbo for a good price 4 years ago. I sold it because it was worth too much to enjoy, and I did keep it long enough to enjoy a real appreciation in value, and enjoyed owning and driving it for 34 years. But it was still pristine, due to careful maintenance and really perfect paint. But most people don't do that. They drove the cars. Now I have another marque, and that one is appreciating and I wonder how long I will be able to enjoy it before it will have to go as well.

There is the "been there, done that" bit of this, where our experience with the car leads us to sell, either because it has become a liability to keep running, or we are bored with it, or we just want to do something else. There are many reasons to sell, and with all the cars that I have had, including a lovely, purchased new, TR8, a currently owned Porsche 951 (talk about silly appreciation lately), the reality is that storage is at a premium, so if I keep something, I had better LOVE it. There are lots of cars that I have owned that have appreciated, and I could care less about them. They just were not that good. Would I buy one now as an "investment"? Hell no... Well, there is one. My Porsche 911SC was pretty good, and maybe another one would be nice, but the fact is that id didn't keep up with the R5turbo that I replaced it with back in '85, so I guessed right. I have to admit that I do appreciate the 911 more now than back then. But, I didn't like the handling. The R5 was better. The surprise is that the R5 ended up being worth twice as much...

Some of the cars are really nice to own. Others, such as an SEC, can be a money pit if they are to be driven daily, and that is my perception as to what such a luxury boat really is. A daily driver that will cost a lot to own. There is an E500 in the family, but it is one of the newer ones, and now, at 20 years old, even at low miles, is not the sort to car you want to put 40K more on and expect to make out financially. It's current value is about $4500, and it is low miles, in excellent condition... provided it isn't driven much... Most of these German makes have little "sense of occasion" when driving them, as there are so many still on the road.

So, pick and choose carefully the cars that you should keep, if you can afford to keep them. Understand that most will not have triple digit price inflation, especially if they are driven, and in need of restoration because you enjoyed the hell out of them.
Maestro1
Technician

From the crank who detests labelling Generations: How about ages instead?
And the prices are absurd.
Snailish
Engineer

Maestro1 your hostility is misplaced and unwelcome. You can dismiss my point or provide a better one than mine without being rude or making personal remarks.

 

Generation X is 1965-1980.

 

You look at the age span that was in high school 1979-1983 I think they have a different experience than those 1994-1998 but they are all lumped into Gen X.

 

Articles here and elsewhere often say "people buy their high school dreams or what was cool around them in high school". Don't know if that is true... Hagerty's data might. Presenting it lumped in the generation format blurs that clarity (to me).

Zephyr
Technician

I have the same complaint about the label Babyboomer. Boomer used to mean someone born in the immediate post-war period - 1946 to 1949 or so. It's now been expanded to 1969 or later. This is ridiculous - the post-war generation grew up in the 50's, people born after 1967 grew up in the post Arab oil embargo 70's, a completely different experience. One grew up with optimism about the future, the other pessimism. One grew up wearing $3.98 Levi's and Madras shirts, the other designer jeans and expensive tennis shoes. One grew up in the era of land yachts, the other in the era of downsized econoboxes.

The 1968–71 BMW 2800CS is probably my least favorite. M3's are my favorite but more E36 and E46's in particular. Crazy money.
ROBERTALEVINE
New Driver

I have a 1991 325 i Convertible 4sale.
TREATUWEL@GMAIL.com
Smilodon
Instructor

Only the M-B AMG E wagon appeals to me. Otherwise, same-o same-o German sedans.
vvic
Pit Crew

I agree. Nothing exciting about the styling of these cars, except the 1970 BMW - still has a 60’s look to it. I don’t go by how they drive, since I never drove them!

Tomwas
Intermediate Driver

Have been driving for a few years now, a 99 528 msport sedan and a 96 328 sedan... Just love them both.. Modern classics.. Sold my 92 e30 5sp vert and 04 e46 5sp vert and a friend hooked me up with a 99 techno m3 vert... Very cool fun driving future collector, already jumping in value.. Ultimate tanning machine...
Trweil92
New Driver

Best reason to buy is for driving pleasure/enjoyment. If it appreciates in value it’s a nice plus. I’m enjoying 99 m roadster and 01 540i 6 speed Dinan 5. It’s at least 75% of an m5 for significantly less money. These e39s require strict attention to maintenance but are a joy to drive and are IMHO one of the premier sport sedans of the era
Truthworldwide
Advanced Driver

Make mine that 560SEC. What an absolute boss of a vehicle. Still looks to be a commanding presence all these years later.
KwikDraw
Intermediate Driver

This is one of those times when I should probably keep my opinion to myself. . .

I have owned a Mercedes and my dad had a BMW. I drove both for a few years. I was not impressed with either. They looked good, but I felt that they did not even come close to living up to the hype and marketing that surrounds both of these manufacturers. They weren't even very comfortable to sit in, much less fun to drive. I do know some people who get all weak-kneed over BMWs and own 1960s and 1970s models. I guess it is another example of different strokes for different folks.